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Sheldon Contiguous Wilderness Study Area

Wilderness Area Status

Wilderness Study Area
Year Designated:

Act or Law:
Acres: 23700
State Region: Northwest Nevada
County Regions: Washoe   


Managing Agency: Bureau of Land Management
Local District: Surprise Field Office
Contact Info: (530) 279-6101
602 Cressler St  Cedarville, CA96104
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Area Description

If solitude is what you seek, you'll find it in Sheldon Contiguous Wilderness Study Area.

Although the name is hardly sexy, it accurately describes the rolling hills, benches and seasonal lakes tucked up against the northwest boundary of the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. This WSA, roughly a square 6 miles on a side, protects the wildlands that cross from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service jurisdiction to BLM. But on the ground, and in the eyes of wildlife and visitors, its all part of the same landscape.

The mixed community of low sage, native grasses and forbs provide excellent forage for pronghorn, mule deer, sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, raptors and other birds. Nestled among the basalt rimrock are juniper trees, many of which are majestic and easily hundreds of years old.

Protecting this landscape - intact and undeveloped - is an important step in helping pronghorn, sage grouse and pygmy rabbits recover from low population levels.

The easiest access is from unpaved Nevada Route 34 in Long Valley. The nearest services are in Cedarville, California, 50 miles to the southwest and Adel, Oregon, 20 miles north.

The best times to visit are late summer and fall, as snow and spring/summer mud make roads in this area impassable. Be prepared to be entirely self-sufficient when visiting this area, as it is extremely remote.

According to the Nevada Department of Wildlife, a majority of this WSA contains critical and irreplaceable habitat for the greater sage grouse. Friends of Nevada Wilderness believes that full wilderness status for this area, and restoration of important lek, nesting and brood-rearing habitat could help stave off a listing of the bird under the Endangered Species Act and help the bird's population to recover.

Wildlife: pronghorn, mule deer, sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, raptors and other birds.

Wild landscape of the Sheldon Contiguous Wilderness Study Area  (c) Brian Beffort

Steep and flat  (c) Brian Beffort

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